“Depoliticize education”

Irani and booksPleading for depoliticizing the education sector, Private Schools United Front of Jammu and Kashmir rapped the previous government for fiddling with the educational careers of thousands of students for its ulterior political motives.

“The recent government decision to grant mass promotion to the students of Class I-IX and XI is a welcome step, but it was too late and too little. It is also a classic example of how our governments first torture and then give relief,” Private Schools United Front (PSUF) office-bearers said in a press conference.

They said the announcement about mass promotion “came after an agonizing period of six months for our students in which some of them even developed psychological problems due to uncertainty over session, examination and so on.”

“Now, when the government has set few things right, we demand answers as to who should be held accountable for the loss of the precious time,” they asked, adding “We demand an impartial inquiry into the entire affair. “Who sabotaged mass promotion in October? On what basis did then government shift annual exams to March 2015 only to be taken back now? Who were experts, educationists (if any) involved in drafting this policy?”

Besides PSUF, the press conference was also addressed by Coordination Committee of Private Schools Association (CCPSA), and Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA). They lambasted the previous government for politicizing the education sector in Kashmir and appealed the new government to depoliticize education in Kashmir and adopt a professional approach in this regard.

“Previous government fiddled with the academic session because of personal gains to their families, which were the only party that benefitted by the decision” presidents of PSUF G N Var said. He said it was due to the terrible decision making by previous government that some of the flood-affected children were forced to purchase new books after floods and they will now have to purchase once again another set for new classes.

“After proper consultations with experts we had announced mass promotion on 26 October 2014, but the government at that time rejected it without even discussing the matter. They even raided our schools and harassed the staff. Now as the government has announced mass promotion, our stand is vindicated,” Var said.

He also said the government has extended winter vacations only due to the inclement weather while it “hardly cares” about the H1N1 (Swine Flu) scare, which can take the shape of pandemic if on emergency basis the vaccines are not procured by the state government to vaccinate the children. He also accused the state’s bureaucracy of “misusing the already procured flu vaccines” saying, “The already procured vaccines have been consumed by the ‘babus’ and their family members while the people in need of these vaccines have been left high and dry.”

President CCPSA Mushtaq Ahmad castigated the government for directing the educational institutes to waive off fee for two months saying, the floods destroyed not only houses but private schools as well and these schools too suffered heavy losses and had to pay rentals besides salaries to the employees.

“We propose that government sponsors five months fee of these students if it is really sincere for their education,” he said while alleging that the government lacks policy for rehabilitation of flood-affected students as no scholarship or monetary assistance has been given to them.

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